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Dealing with Negativity About Temples and Garments


Emily from Provo, Utah, wrote:

Hello sisters. I am going on a mission in March and just went through the temple a couple of weeks ago. I have some family and friends who aren’t very supportive and warned me all about it but I love the temple and I love my garments.

Dealing with Negativity About Temples and Garments

My problem is that my roommate is about to received her endowments (she is getting married between Christmas and New Year’s) and she is very negative about it. She wants to get married in the temple but she has heard the temple is sexist and she thinks the garments are dowdy and silly.

What can I do to convince her of the truth?

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Cheerleaders and Other Moral Outrage

Yesterday a friend posted to Facebook so repulsed by the NFL that he was threatening to boycott football forever. Hey, I’ve got football problems of my own. I get it. Here’s how my friend reached the tipping point.

Cheerleaders and Other Moral Outrage

Last February, pro football player Ray Rice (for those of you living under the bleachers) whacked his “fiancée” in an elevator, watched her pass out and collapse, dragged her out of the elevator, kicked her about a bit, forced her to sit up while she regained consciousness, and then milled about with his buddies to make sure any and all witnesses were carefully paid off.

Cracking down on domestic abuse (as the NFL is wont to do), the Ravens suspended the abuser for…two…games. (That’ll show him!)

In order to protect herself and all other women from creeps like Rice, Janay Palmer married the dude, refused to press charges, and got all pissy about the media coverage. (Double show him!)

Or something.  [click to continue…]


Silliness has reigned for years. The General Relief Society Meeting and the General Young Women Meeting were considered far off appendages, only remotely related to General Conference. They were always held the week before General Conference, but weren’t really, completely, totally, fully part of the conference. Just kind of close by. Although the meeting was first chronologically, the proceedings were always stuffed to the back of the Ensign “conference issue.” (The Priesthood Session being placed third, as it occurred.) Showing once again the kind of, sort of conferenceness of the meeting for women, without confusing official status.

General Women's Session

Recently all the females ages eight and up were lumped into the General Women’s meeting but, still, not authentically General Conference, just conference-ish. Until this fall when Uchtdorf (almost, sort of) said it was. But then Eyring said it wasn’t. And then Carlson indicated it was. But the editors knew it wasn’t. [click to continue…]


Open About LDS Temple Garments

The Secret

When I received my endowments a week before my wedding in 1985 I was able to see the different styles and fabrics of the ceremonial robes. I was also able to try on all the various garment styles, as they had unmarked garments available.

Open About Temple Garments

By the time one of my daughters was married in 2011, this practice had stopped for some reason. Instead, selecting garments was a very expensive hit and miss prospect and was a frustrating situation for both of us.

In early 2013, another daughter was preparing to receive her endowments. We went to LDS Church Distribution located in the Deseret Book in south Orem. We stood in line to go to the private room to select her ceremonial temple clothing. Once it was our turn, the attendant asked her which style of veil she wanted. She asked what her options were. The woman began to describe the choices. I suggested that she take out a sample of each and just show them to my daughter so she could see the differences. The attendant informed me that since my daughter had not been endowed, she could not see the robes. She told my daughter to turn her back to us so that I could see them and describe them to her.

I noted that the robes are openly on display on the body of the decedent in every LDS funeral that has an open casket with an endowed member, but I was unable to change her position. Another odd moment in ceremonial clothing.

Snicker Sneer Sniggle

Let’s face it, when your religious vestment is underwear, it’s awkward. It paints a giant target on members for everyone from 5-year-olds through junior high bullies and up to adults who have no sense of decorum to aim at. (Which these days includes most of society.) So the constant ridicule about our “magic underwear” got old when I was prepubescent.  [click to continue…]


General Conference Open Thread – October 2014

Please share your comments, insights, and favorite quotes below!


Time Bending for Mormons

For years I’ve been teaching organization seminars at conferences and conventions. One of the things I’m often asked is how I can do all the things I do. The question derives, I think, from two things:

  • I choose not to do lots of things most people do
  • I choose to keep very busy

Time Bending for Mormons

I have a real life friend who is also selective, busy, and entrepreneurial. Molly Christensen is a former Mormon Momma author. She is a homeschooling mom of seven (ages 3–20) who graduated from BYU in mechanical engineering. She has founded homeschool co-ops, taught classes (leadership, Latin, science, math, ACT prep, etc.), and dealt with familial food allergies. She currently co-mentors the Building Heroes Academy and blogs at Mentor Your Kids. (She’s offering some adult training courses that look really great.)

I love to learn new things and new techniques — particularly with regard to productivity — so this morning I attended a webinar she offered on time management. It was titled Use Your Super Powers: Time-Bending Webinar. Below are some thoughtful ideas that were particularly helpful to me. I’m not going to write a dissertation about them, just present them for consideration. Perhaps they will be useful to you as well.  [click to continue…]


I was honored to be able to watch the session with all four of my amazing daughters. Plus Wallaby’s BBQ. Much to love in this meeting.

#1 Diversity

I’m not a promoter of diversity for the sake of diversity. If something isn’t supposed to make a difference, making an issue of it forces it to make a difference. Besides, I don’t want true diversity. I don’t want an equal percentage of law-abiding people and criminals in my neighborhood, for one example.

Top 5 Things About the September 2014 General Women's Meeting

Maybe a better words is “variety.” Either way, it was wonderful to hear so many different languages, styles of dress, ages, homes, temples, and accents. It’s so much more interesting. More to the point, it is good to be unified in faith and cause with so many who are in such different circumstances.

#2 Humanity

In the 90s I read a biographical book about Marjorie Hinckley. She told a story of her husband as a boy using a bad word and having his mouth washed out with soap by his momma. Strangely, I rejoiced at the story. Hearing that even the prophet did really dumb, bad stuff was good to hear. It gave me hope.

Last night President Neill F. Marriot (if we call male counselor’s after the title of the office holder, why not female?) told about going to the temple to receive guidance about a problem. The answer was that she was sinful and needed to change. Rather than promoting the leadership idol worship Mormons are wont to engage in, she put herself squarely in the midst of the rest of us: an imperfect human being greatly in need of the Savior’s mercy.

A self-absorbed natural women is an enemy to God.

I can totally relate.  [click to continue…]


Carl’s Jr.’s Sleaze Tithe – Sponsored by BYU Athletics

Today Paul Rolly of the Salt Lake Tribune wrote an article on the scuzzball advertising consuming Carl’s Jr. He quoted my post from last month, Sleazevertising: An Open Letter to the BYU Athletic Department.

Carl's Jr.'s Sleaze Tithe

In spite of forwarding the letter to every person I could find at BYU Athletics and the Sponsorship Group, I have heard nothing back from anyone. Rolly tried to contact BYU spokeswoman Carrie Jenkins about the issue but got no response. (I like to imagine that Ms. Jenkins was busy storming over to the Smith Field House to demand changes, but given this is the same woman who thinks BYU students don’t want caffeinated beverages, I am not holding my breath.)

Later, however, Rolly did get “this terse email from the communications office:”

BYU Athletics works with local [Carl’s Jr.] franchise owners, who have supported athletics for many years. These owners do not control or provide input on corporate advertising campaigns. Any promotion with BYU Athletics pertains to the local franchises.

In other words, money for nothing and chicks for free.  [click to continue…]


Business 101

My first day in business school I learned about opportunity cost. It blew my mind. (I was young.)

The opportunity cost of a choice is the value of the best alternative forgone, in a situation in which a choice needs to be made between several mutually exclusive alternatives given limited resources.

You Never Know - Mormon Message

Anytime you use a resource (time, money, energy) for one purpose, you are choosing not to use the same resource for any other purpose.

This is a concept far too few people (Mormons and not) understand. When they say yes to something, they are saying no to a bunch of other somethings. I’ll get back to this later.

Babysitters Rock

My daughter Monica was recently featured in another Mormon Message. When it aired last week she asked me what I thought. Here are my thoughts in order:  [click to continue…]


Note to internet dolts: This letter is not about modesty. (I believe women should be able to dress as they choose and men should grow up and learn to control themselves. You know, like adults.) The letter is about female objectification. If you don’t know the difference, educate yourselves before you build your straw men.

To Whom It May Concern:

I’m  a decade late to the misogynist party.

Carl's Jr. Sleazy Ads BYU

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Church Discipline and Regular Folk

Below is a letter a friend of mine sent to his bishop and stake president. It was written after the announcement of Kate Kelly’s church disciplinary council, but before the council had convened. He shared it with some friends and I asked if I could republish it, as I feel it is a respectful reflection of the thoughts of many active members of the church.

It is republished here — with identifying information removed — with the permission of the author, his bishop, and his stake president.

Church Discipline and Regular Folk

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Below is the (painstaking) transcript of an interview broadcast on KUER. There are a number of points in it that are worth discussing, but I could find no text transcript to point to, so I created it myself.

  • Date: Tuesday, June 15, 2014
  • Interviewer: Doug Fabrizio- Host/Executive Producer, RadioWest
  • Guest: Ally Isom – Senior Manager of Public Affairs with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Podcast can be heard in its entirety here: Latter-day Saints and Excommunication, Part II (For the record, I can’t find an interview titled “Latter-day Saints and Excommunication, Part I.” This may be an earlier with Kate Kelly and/or John Dehlin by the same host.)

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Faithfulness Doesn’t Look Like That

I started this post on April 9th, but never had the heart to finish it. Maybe now I do.

Faithfulness Sneer

Last fall I wrote a post titled A Christlike Response to Radical Mormon Feminism. I’m not part of the Ordain Women group — because I have some differing opinions on outcome/approach — but I see them as my sisters in the gospel, worthy of love, respect, and consideration. And, as you probably know, I’m outspoken on gender issues in the church because I think we have far, far to go in that respect.

As the Mormon church’s gender relations have become more heated, the rhetoric often spins out of control. What surprised me, however, is that the vitriol within the church comes so overwhelmingly from those who claim to be the “faithful” who are “standing for truth and righteousness.”

I’ve read and read and read articles, posts, pages and sourced quotes directly from actual members of the Ordain Women movement and have seen almost nothing that wasn’t qualified, measured, and respectful. A few exceptions, of course, but not many have crossed my screen.

It may be that my anecdotal experience is extremely unusual. I’m willing to consider that idea and to see real, counter-examples. But I tend to believe that those who are part of Ordain Women have made a thoughtful decision to respond exclusively with Christlike regard for the other parties. Sometimes the difference is so stark that I’m reminded of the civil rights activists who”protested” that status quo by sitting at the “whites only” lunch counter. They sat quietly and politely while they were cursed at, spit upon, had food poured on them, and worse.  [click to continue…]


There is Room for You Here

Somewhere along the line, I must have identified myself as a Mormon feminist – for in the 24 hours that have passed since Kate Kelly’s excommunication was announced, I have received multiple messages from various friends, asking, “Are you okay?”

Two things. First, I am not an Ordain Woman supporter. Never was. I don’t agree that women need the priesthood in order to make great strides in having a more meaningful presence in the church. I don’t support some of the methods OW uses to be heard.

Second, no, I am not okay. I am incredibly sad about this turn of events.

There is Room for You Here

While Kelly’s bishop laid out the reasons for excommunication rather well, and I can’t say that I disagree with some of his logic, the question I ask myself is this: “Is the church better with or without Kate Kelly?” and I say it is better with her. She is an intelligent, faith-filled woman who wants to have a discussion about something I personally don’t agree with but believe she has every right to ask about. Her methods might not have been what I would have chosen, but the issues she is bringing up in regards to equality are important. There has not been nearly enough dialogue going on about ways women can be more involved in the church.

In my opinion, there is so much talent and leadership that is not able to reach its full potential in the current policies and procedures of the church. Note I did not say in the doctrine of the church — but in the policies and procedures of the church. There are things that can and should change. We have discussed many of them here before. [click to continue…]


Supporting Your Children in Their Dreams

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of New York Life. All opinions are 100% mine.

A good friend of mine used to joke about her four kids:

I need one doctor, one lawyer, and one accountant. The other one pick what s/he wants to do.

Sam and I have six children and they are all over the map in what they are most interested in — even within a single individual. One daughter is a computer tech wizard and a competitive ballroom dancer. Another loves anything to do with animals and plants. A couple of our children love nothing more than musical theater. One son loves games and computers and surfing. Another likes anything involving lots of people.

While we may have particular dreams or goals in mind for them, those ideas must always be modified or tempered as a child’s true genius and passion begins to emerge.  [click to continue…]

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Videos of Jesus Christ – One Day at a Time

Don’t Tell Me About Magical Genie Prayer

Usually I hate sermons like this. Particularly when they come from general authorities.

One Day at a Time

Years ago I read a book by Elder Gene Cook titled Receiving Answers to Our Prayers. I loved the book and poured over it again and again, sure its pages unlocked the magical key to answers from God. I mean, if Elder Cook and his family can find every lost dog, wallet, and hat, if they can have all last-minute financial needs met — just by praying good and hard — then we all can! I was full of hope.

But it didn’t work out that way for me. [click to continue…]


My mom died 11 years ago. Once my dad  was unable to teach his BYU math classes, unable to be called to service missions, unable to drive, and unable to follow detailed conversations, he decided his time had come. He was ready to move on. He missed his sweetheart and wanted to be reunited with her ASAP.

His body didn’t exactly go along with the plan.

More to Life Than Now

On April 28th, he was admitted into hospice care. He has lived with us for over three years (since a terrible car accident — and the cessation of his incessant driving) and we are determined to have him here for the rest of his life, if possible. My dad is the most wonderful man and has done so much to make his stay here not only full of love, but truly easy on me. The hospice company (Brighton) has already gone above and beyond the call of duty and provided wonderful support. Dad has joked about wanting “to take a pill so I can go be with your mom” for years. So I thought I was ready for all of this. Circle of life and all that.

Then the mail came. Or, really, it didn’t come. [click to continue…]


Simple FHE Ideas: Spiritual Habits

The day after BYU finals ended, our entire family sat down for a family counsel. We try to have one every Sunday afternoon, but this extra meeting was called to get us jump started on a good summer.

One of the things we discussed was the desire to have good habits through the summer. Rather then let it be a time of sleeping in, general laziness, amid a frantic vacation or two and some summer camps, we’d like it to be a time of fun and continued positive progress.

Spiritual Habits

One of the most important things for us will be to keep up good habits of family night, family prayer, and family scriptures study.  [click to continue…]


Videos of Jesus Christ – Twig of Faith

A common jab at the person who complains about something relatively trivial in the eternal scheme of things — bad service at a restaurant, annoying people at the theater, a car nice car with a flat tire, a slow internet connection — is to tag their complaint thusly:


Twig of Faith

While it’s true that we would all do better to accentuate the positive and count our blessings (research soundly confirms that choosing to see the real good in the world has enormous benefits toward improved happiness), it’s also worth noting that pointing out the truth that “things could always be worse” (and it is always true) doesn’t solve problems nor does it usually help much. This is called the fallacy of relative privation.

My purpose is not to encourage the Relief Society to pass out a sign up sheet to take dinners to every family in the ward who has a hang nail — or even to indulge the negativity some constantly display — but to note that true sisterhood and brotherhood asks us to see the pain of others as real pain, even if we don’t fully understand it.  [click to continue…]


Simple FHE Ideas: Agency and Freedom

My early adulthood made it easy believe that God was a magical genie. If I prayed hard enough and worked hard enough and had just the right amount of faith mixed in, I could do anything or have anything. (Except the ever elusive pony. That never happened.) Conversely if I didn’t get what I wanted, I just hadn’t mixed the potion carefully enough.

My late 30s taught me the opposite was true. I never became an unbeliever. I always knew God was there. Somewhere. Far, far away. (To lose that would be to lose everything.)

Agency and Freedom

I knew God cared about The Plan. His plan. But I didn’t believe he really cared about individuals. At least not all individuals. I mean how could  God always be helping Sister B find her carelessly misplaced keys, making sure an anonymous friend dropped off the exact amount of change she needed, “inspired” her about her breakfast cereal choices (and on and on) and still allow children to be abused, governments to enslave, and innocent people (even those who knew him and sincerely tried to follow him) to be irreparable harmed by evil people.

Ultimately I came to the conclusion that God cares deeply, but that his plan for agency and freedom requires that he step back and let things take their course. Strangely, perhaps, my thoughts came as a result of political discussions.  [click to continue…]